An ongoing series by the Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board by John Conti Four Convenient Locations All Insurances Accepted Free Parking Same Day / Next Day Appointments 24 Hour Report Turnaround Announcing Our Newest Location In Bethel Park SERVICES: High Field MRI MRA CT Breast MRI EKG Ultrasound Digital Mammography Walk-in Lab Services Walk-in X-Ray A Division of Jefferson REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER Je erson Regional Health Pavilion 1000 Higbee Drive Bethel Park, PA 15102 P: 412-854-7100 F: 412-854-7120 W: 22 mtl ·july/august 2010 efore Bill and Pat Brawdy replaced the windows on their 1920 Craftsman bungalow on North Meadowcroft, they sifted through catalogs and called numerous sales people until they found windows that suited them. One concern: they wanted windows they could paint to match the dark red trim on their house--something that would be impossible with the ubiquitous brown or white vinyl replacement windows. On Ordale, Jake and Debbie Warren are so concerned with the looks of their classic Tudor stone home that they're not replacing their 1929 steel casement windows at all. Instead, they're renewing them-- taking them out, having them sandblasted and recoated, and reinstalling them. They even have five steel windows removed from a nearby house that they will refurbish for an addition to their house this summer. And, on Greenhurst, Keith and Jan Lagnese were so concerned with the looks of their windows that they shopped for specially made aluminum windows that closely resembled the steel windows they removed. They've since moved to another Mt. Lebanon house and are exercising the same concern in their new home. Why all this worry about windows? Mt. Lebanon is a town desirable to many people because of the traditional character of its homes and its neighborhoods. And windows are as important to the looks of a home as eyes are to a face. Bad replacement windows mar the looks of a house, diminish its curb appeal and can reduce value. In the interests of promoting the preservation of Mt. Lebanon's character, here are some dos and don'ts on windows. Don't replace at all. Refurbish. Not everyone will do what the Warrens have done, but whatever kind of windows you have--steel or wood--parts are available to fix them and craftsmen available to do the work. Consult the back pages of magazines B WINDOWS--aS ImpOrtaNt tO a hOme aS eyeS tO a face like Old House Journal for leads or check the yellow pages. Don't take a salesman's word that "you can't fix that." Rusted steel can be fixed; even rotted wood repaired; leaded glass windows can be rejuvenated by firms that do stained glass. Replace casements with casements and double hung with double hung. (Casements swing out; double-hung go up and down). Don't ever put contemporary sliding windows on a traditional house. That's like going to your daughter's wedding in a tuxedo while wearing tennis shoes. Pay attention to fit, proportion and color. Walk up and down any block in town and you'll see where standard windows were installed in non-standard spaces, with filler put in the left-over space. This not only diminishes the looks from the outside, it cuts the brightness of the inside. Also, check the proportions of the panes implied by those grilles that are often installed. If they imply vertical panes on the first floor, don't buy grilles that imply horizontal panes on the second floor. Don't use those fake grilles. It may cost a little more, but if you can afford it, several major manufacturers--like Pella and Marvin--offer double-glazed windows with genuine divisions between the panes. If you get grilles, get them inside and out. Don't mistreat existing steel windows. Lubricate them. (Do you know of any steel mechanisms expected to survive 80 years of use without lubrication?) Don't pry a stuck window with a screwdriver, you'll bend the frame. Instead, get a two-by-four, lay it along the frame and gently tap up and down until the window opens. You can also make neat plastic inserts as interior storm windows. It's worth it to give careful attention to whatever you do with windows in Mt. Lebanon. It's important to the value of your house; it's important to the value of your neighborhood.